Making Magic Mysterious

Magic is a problem in RPGs. On the one hand, it is supposed to be mysterious and occult (literally: ‘hidden’), but on the other hand the game part of roleplaying games requires consistent rules so as to be fair to the players. The result is that magic is reduced in players’ minds to a kind of science or mathematics.

I’ve spent way too long noodling with magic systems to try to solve this conundrum, but now I think I’ve finally come up with a solution.

The GM makes all rolls to do with magic in secret and only describes the effects.

E basta!

This works especially well if rolls are normally done in the open, of course, but in any case it balances the fairness of applying the rules in general while keeping each particular manifestation mysteriously unexplained. That’s assuming you can trust your GM, of course. You did remember to bind him inside a pentacle, right…?

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